The DeKalb Municipal Code states that property owners are responsible for snow and ice removal from public sidewalks. Upon two inches of snowfall, property owners should remove all snow and ice within 48 hours.
By clearing walkways, pedestrians, including children walking to school, have a safer path to travel. The City encourages residents to be a good neighbor by helping those who may not be capable of shoveling on their own.
You can be fined in the City of DeKalb for not shoveling your sidewalks, although they usually only issue compliance warnings. In general, city staff check sidewalks in commercial areas, near private health care facilities and along designated routes children use to get to school. Other areas are usually inspected only if the city receives a complaint.
Here is the actual wording of the DeKalb Municipal Code, Chapter 51:
51.21-5 PROPERTY OWNER RESPONSIBILITY FOR SNOW AND ICE REMOVAL
FROM PUBLIC PROPERTY.
a) Definitions. The following definitions shall apply in the interpretation and
enforcement of this Chapter 51.21-5:
“Pedestrian Safety Routes” are those sidewalks which:
- Serve as principal walkways for school children;
- Serve the city’s commercial zoning districts;
- Serve private health care facilities, defined as any establishment providing
individual care or treatment for injuries, diseases or either temporary or
permanent mental, emotional or physical disabilities.
b) Designation of Pedestrian Safety Routes. All sidewalks described in Schedule P of
this Chapter 51 shall be considered Pedestrian Safety Routes.
c) Snow and Ice Removal From Pedestrian Safety Routes. If the owner, agent or
occupant of a lot whose front yard or corner side yard abuts a public sidewalk
designated in Schedule P of this Chapter 51, fails to effectively remove ice and
snow from that sidewalk within forty-eight (48) hours of the onset of a snow event
exceeding two (2) inches of snow, sleet or freezing rain, that owner, agent or
occupant will be liable for fine penalties and the cost of the summary abatement of
snow and ice from the public sidewalk areas adjacent to his property. (1992-009)
- The Director of Building and Community Services or designee shall authorize
the summary removal of the ice and snow through any available public
agency or by contract with private persons and the cost of such abatement
shall be charged against the real estate in question and shall be a lien upon
such real estate. Alternatively, the City reserves the right to commence a civil
action to recover the costs of such abatement.
d) Snow and Ice Removal from Public Sidewalks in General.
- All public sidewalk areas shall be kept free of ice and snow by the owner,
agent or occupant of any lot that abuts sidewalk areas.
- It shall be unlawful for the owner, agent or occupant of any lot abutting a
public sidewalk to fail to remove ice and snow from public sidewalk areas
within forty-eight (48) hours of the onset of any snow event. (1992-009)
- The City Council may authorize the Director of Building and Community
Services or designee to issue property maintenance fines to their property
owners, agents or occupants, for the willful disregard of their responsibility to
maintain public sidewalk areas free of ice and snow. A record of such fines,
including the name of the property owners and property locations, shall be
kept on file by the Director of Building and Community Services and included
in the monthly code enforcement report to the City Council. The Director’s
prerogative to issue fines for the failure to maintain sidewalks free of ice and
snow, shall expire on April 1 of each calendar year. (1991-008)
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